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James Baldwin was ahead of his time when it came to questions of the intersection of sexuality, progressive global politics, and critical race theory. His essays, novels, and plays always expressed a profound hope that humankind can learn to love the other. Such a hope kept him in an ongoing battle against injustices in all their dissimilar forms – Islamophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, and racial hate crimes. This essay considers the intersectional elements of antiracist, antinationalist, and antiheterosexist thought in James Baldwin’s literary work and lectures. I have organized my thoughts in several sections that focus on the African American community in the United States, international affairs, and his reflections on sexuality and gender/masculinity.
Both elevated blood pressure and/or depression increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. This study in treated elderly hypertensive patients explored the incidence of depression, its association (pre-existing and incident) with mortality and predictors of incident depression.
Data from 6,083 hypertensive patients aged ≥65 years enrolled in the Second Australian National Blood Pressure study were used. Participants were followed for a median of 10.8 years (including 4.1 years in-trial) and classified into: “no depression,” “pre-existing” and “incident” depression groups based on either being “diagnosed with depressive disorders” and/or “treated with an anti-depressant drug” at baseline or during in-trial period. Further, we redefined “depression” restricted to presence of both conditions for sensitivity analyses. For the current study, end-points were all-cause and any cardiovascular mortality.
313 (5%) participants had pre-existing depression and a further 916 (15%) participants developed depression during the trial period (incidence 4% per annum). Increased (hazard-ratio, 95% confidence-interval) all-cause mortality was observed among those with either pre-existing (1.23, 1.01–1.50; p = 0.03) or incident (1.26, 1.12–1.41; p < 0.001) depression compared to those without. For cardiovascular mortality, a 24% increased risk (1.24, 1.05–1.47; p = 0.01) was observed among those with incident depression. The sensitivity analyses, using the restricted depression definition showed similar associations. Incident depression was associated with being female, aged ≥75 years, being an active smoker at study entry, and developing new diabetes during the study period.
This elderly cohort had a high incidence of depression irrespective of their randomised antihypertensive regimen. Both pre-existing and incident depression were associated with increased mortality.
Knowledge of the effects of burial depth and burial duration on seed viability and, consequently, seedbank persistence of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson) and waterhemp [Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) J. D. Sauer] ecotypes can be used for the development of efficient weed management programs. This is of particular interest, given the great fecundity of both species and, consequently, their high seedbank replenishment potential. Seeds of both species collected from five different locations across the United States were investigated in seven states (sites) with different soil and climatic conditions. Seeds were placed at two depths (0 and 15 cm) for 3 yr. Each year, seeds were retrieved, and seed damage (shrunken, malformed, or broken) plus losses (deteriorated and futile germination) and viability were evaluated. Greater seed damage plus loss averaged across seed origin, burial depth, and year was recorded for lots tested at Illinois (51.3% and 51.8%) followed by Tennessee (40.5% and 45.1%) and Missouri (39.2% and 42%) for A. palmeri and A. tuberculatus, respectively. The site differences for seed persistence were probably due to higher volumetric water content at these sites. Rates of seed demise were directly proportional to burial depth (α=0.001), whereas the percentage of viable seeds recovered after 36 mo on the soil surface ranged from 4.1% to 4.3% compared with 5% to 5.3% at the 15-cm depth for A. palmeri and A. tuberculatus, respectively. Seed viability loss was greater in the seeds placed on the soil surface compared with the buried seeds. The greatest influences on seed viability were burial conditions and time and site-specific soil conditions, more so than geographical location. Thus, management of these weed species should focus on reducing seed shattering, enhancing seed removal from the soil surface, or adjusting tillage systems.
The Megamaser Cosmology Project (MCP) measures the Hubble Constant by determining geometric distances to circumnuclear 22 GHz H2O megamasers in galaxies at low redshift (z < 0.05) but well into the Hubble flow. In combination with the recent, exquisite observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background by WMAP and Planck, these measurements provide a direct test of the standard cosmological model and constrain the equation of state of dark energy. The MCP is a multi-year project that has recently completed observations and is currently working on final analysis. Based on distance measurements to the first four published megamasers in the sample, the MCP currently determines H0 = 69.3 ± 4.2 km s−1 Mpc−1. The project is finalizing analysis for five additional galaxies. When complete, we expect to achieve a ~4% measurement. Given the tension between the Planck prediction of H0 in the context of the standard cosmological model and astrophysical measurements based on standard candles, the MCP provides a critical and independent geometric measurement that does not rely on external calibrations or a distance ladder.
We report on magnetic field measurements associated with the well-known extreme red supergiant (RSG), VY Canis Majoris (VY CMa). We measured both linear and circular polarization of the SiO v = 0, J = 1 − 0 transition using a sensitive radio interferometer. The measured magnetic field strengths are surprisingly high. A lower limit for the field strength is expected to be at least ~ 10 Gauss based on the high degree of linear polarization. Since the field strengths are very high, the magnetic field must be a key element in understanding the stellar evolution of VY CMa as well as the dynamical and chemical evolution of the complex circumstellar envelope of the star.
Maser astrometry is now providing parallaxes with accuracies of ±10 micro-arcseconds, which corresponds to 10% accuracy at a distance of 10 kpc! The VLBA BeSSeL Survey and the Japanese VERA project have measured ≈200 parallaxes for masers associated with young, high-mass stars. Since these stars are found in spiral arms, we now are directly mapping the spiral structure of the Milky Way. Combining parallaxes, proper motions, and Doppler velocities, we have complete 6-dimensional phase-space information. Modeling these data yields the distance to the Galactic Center, the rotation speed of the Galaxy at the Sun, and the nature of the rotation curve.
Many accretion disks surrounding supermassive black holes in nearby AGN are observed to host 22 GHz water maser activity. We have analyzed single-dish 22 GHz spectra taken with the GBT to identify 32 such “Keplerian disk systems,” which we used to investigate maser excitation and explore the possibility of disk reverberation. Our results do not support a spiral shock model for population inversion in these disks, and we find that any reverberating signal propagating radially outwards from the AGN must constitute <10% of the total observed maser variability. Additionally, we have used ALMA to begin exploring the variety of sub-mm water megamasers that are also predicted, and in the case of the 321 GHz transition found, to be present in these accretion disks. By observing multiple masing transitions within a single system, we can better constrain the physical conditions (e.g., gas temperature and density) in the accretion disk.
The exclusive association of Class II methanol masers with high mass star formation regions and in turn spiral arms, makes them ideal tracers of spiral structure. The bright and compact nature of masers also makes them good sources for Very Long Baseline Interferometry, with their fluxes visible on some of the longest terrestrial baselines. The success of the BeSSeL (Bar and Spiral Structure Legacy) project has demonstrated the use of masers in large scale high–precision trigonometric parallax surveys. This survey was then able to precisely map the spiral arms visible from the Northern Hemisphere and recalculate the fundamental Milky Way parameters R0 and θ0. The majority of the Milky Way is visible from the Southern Hemisphere and at the present time the Australian LBA (Long Baseline Array) is the only Southern Hemisphere array capable of taking high–precision trigonometric parallax data. We present the progress–to–date of the Southern Hemisphere experiment. We will also unveil a new broadband Southern Hemisphere array, capable of much faster parallax turnaround and atmospheric calibration.
We present the first VLBI measurement of interstellar ammonia (NH3) masers. Two masers were found toward the ultracompact Hii regions, W51-e1 and e2. The masers are unresolved in angle and smaller than 0.1 milliarcseconds. Unless these masers are highly beamed, they appear to be saturated.
Zeeman measurements of OH masers are used to probe the magnetic field around regions of massive star formation. Previous observations suggested that OH maser field directions were aligned in a clockwise sense in the Milky Way, but recent data from a large-scale VLA survey do not support this hypothesis. However, these observations suggest that the magnetic field of the Milky Way is correlated on kiloparsec scales.
Astronomical sources of maser emission have now been studied for more than 30 years, and research related to masers spans a very wide range of topics in astrophysics. Over this period great progress has been made in many areas of maser research. This summary will put maser research into an historical perspective and focus on highlights from this conference.
Full-polarization spectral-line VLBA observations were made of the ground state, main-line, 2π3/2J = 3/2 OH masers in two Galactic star-forming regions: the “e1”/ “e2” region of W51 and G351.78-0.54. Two especially interesting results are presented. (1) Two of the 27 Zeeman pairs in W51 were found to be associated with unusually strong magnetic fields (≈ 20 mG), more than twice as strong as for any previously reported OH maser. (2) G351.78-0.54 was found to exhibit a high degree of linear polarization (up to 61%), which constrains the three dimensional structure of its magnetic field.
On 1984 October 6 we conducted a 3-station intercontinental Mark II VLBI experiment in order to study the very luminous water vapor maser source in the nucleus of the galaxy NGC 3079, which was detected first by Haschick and Baan (1985) using the Haystack Observatory 36.6 m antenna. The cross correlation spectrum for the longest Owens Valley to MPI baseline is presented in Figure 1 and shows the phase variation across the width of the brightest feature at 955.7 km s−1 to be less than 10 degrees of phase.
Studies of H2O masers have demonstrated the power of VLBI techniques to measure relative positions with sufficient accuracy (∼ 10 μas) to determine proper motions and to estimate distances to maser sources throughout the Galaxy. The distance to four H2O masers have been determined, and the distance to the center of the Galaxy has been determined to be 7.1 ± 1.5 kpc from observations of the H2O masers in Sgr-B2. Proper motion distances for other H2O masers, and possibly for OH masers, may allow the determination of the fundamental parameters describing the size (Ro) and rotation rate (Θo) of the Galaxy with accuracies of better than 10%. Finally, the measurement of the proper motions of H2O masers in nearby galaxies (< 10 Mpc) is feasible and offers the possibility of direct calibration of the extragalactic distance scale.
Great progress has been made toward measuring the size of the Milky Way. There are now several methods that employ independent calibrations to estimate the distance to the center of the Galaxy, Ro, and these methods have been applied to many types of astronomical objects. Ro estimates generally have been decreasing over the last 15 years. At this time a reasonable “best value” estimate for Ro is 7.7 ± 0.7 kpc.
Observations of circular polarization of molecular masers associated with late type giant and supergiant stars can be used to estimate the magnetic field strength in the masing region. Magnetic field strengths of ~ 5 mG are deduced for OH masers in circumstellar envelopes at distances of ~ 1016 cm from the star, and magnetic field strengths of ~ 50 G are deduced for SiO masers that reside above the photosphere. Extrapolation to the stellar photosphere suggests that average surface magnetic fields are on the order of 103 G.
We have discovered maser emission from SiO and H2O molecules toward a number of evolved stars within the central parsec of our Galaxy. The maser positions can be registered with milliarcsecond precision relative to the radio continuum emission of the nonthermal Galactic center source Sgr A*. Since the masing stars are prominent infrared sources, our data can be used to locate the position of Sgr A* on infrared images of the Galactic center region. Using VLBA observations it will be possible to measure proper motions of the maser stars, which can be used to put constraints on the mass distribution in the central parsec.